sea anemones


Eerie, beautiful, captivating images of sea urchins mating and being born (that little triangle guy is a baby sea urchin).

These are a glimpse of how life begins in the deep ocean – and there’s a lot of life down there. The oceans provide about 190 times as much living space as every other space on Earth – soil, air and fresh water – put together. A vast array of amazing creatures live in the depths of this watery world. Squid, jellyfish, and plankton are just a few of our favorites (all shown as tiny babies in that last gif).

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Sea anemones are a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria. There are more than 1,000 species of sea anemones found throughout the world’s oceans, many attached to rocks on the seafloor. Their bodies are composed of an adhesive pedal disk, a cylindrical body, and an array of tentacles. The tentacles are triggered by the slightest touch, firing a harpoon-like filament into their victim and injecting a paralyzing neurotoxin. 

Estefanía Rodríguez, Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History is studying the fascinating varieties of anemones and other sea life in Antarctica. In 2014, Dr. Rodríguez discovered a giant anemone-like creature with tentacles reaching more than 6.5 feet long that actually belongs to an entirely new order of animals, demonstrating there is still much to be learned about polar marine life!

See anemones, penguins, and seals in Beneath the Ice, and immersive dome installation now on view in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, running through May 27.  

Image: Actiniae Seeanemonen from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur

A painting of diverse sea anemones by Giacomo Merculiano, 1893.

These cnidarians are predators feeding mainly on fishes and crustaceans. They have nematocysts containing very toxic actinotoxins that they shoot into prey with hair-like structures. These animals have a fossil record dating to the middle Cambrian (more than 500 million years ago), though having soft-tissue bodies, fossilization is rare. Also see this video with a live anemone being pursued by its own predator.

Anthopleura elegantissima, Aggregating Anemone | ©Marlin Harms (North Point, Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, California, US)

This colonial anemone with tentacles greenish to pinkish, can be found on rocky, tide swept shores along the Pacific coast of North America.

An interesting fact of these anemones, recently studied, is that High-intertidal individuals are exposed aerially up to 18 h each day, unlike low-intertidal individuals which may be continuously immersed over many days [read more].

Animalia - Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Hexacorallia - Actiniaria - Actiniidae - Anthopleura - A. elegantissima

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Lybia edmondsoni: THE FABULOUS POM-POM CRAB 
Posted by Matthew Cobb at Why Evolution Is True 

Lybia is a genus of small crabs in the family Xanthidae.  Their common names include boxer crabs, boxing crabs and pom-pom crabs.

They are notable for their mutualism with sea anemones, which they hold in their claws for defense. In return, the anemones get carried around which may enable them to capture more food particles with their tentacles. [Wikipedia]

Animalia  >  Arthropoda  >  Crustacea  >  Malacostraca  >  Decapoda  >
Brachyura  >  Xanthidae  >  Lybia

And this looks like Lybia edmondsoni Takeda & Miyake, 1970